Friday, May 6, 2016

The Genius of Galloway

I have deep appreciation for the Galloway method. 
It has salvaged many days that otherwise may have ended up miserable for me. Yet, I find myself still resisting going solely Galloway for all my runs. 

As runners we work hard to go farther and farther without a break, so I admit, when this option was first presented to me, the idea of it sparked resistance in me right away. It seemed unnatural to "voluntarily" take a walk break during a run. 

My very first experience (a few years ago) running 4 x 1 intervals with run buddy was a win though. It was a relatively nice day, we had a blast, and we maintained a pace very similar to what we would normally run. Galloway Method Post

I purchased a gym boss, which is a great tool for this method. It beeps and vibrates and you can clip it right to your sports bra. 

Over the past few years, 4 x 1 has been my saving grace when it is hot and humid, and became my personal back up plan for survival if I am tanking during a race or run.

I have used this method three times during a half marathon, and I feel like all of the events were a big success for me.

Anytime heat may be factor, I keep my timer with me just in case. Personally, I feel better about taking a "planned" walk break.

In Disney, at the Princess Half, run buddy and I used this method from mile 7 on, to stay together and survive the heat. 

When I ran the Petersburg half last year, I turned on the timer half way, and again survived a very hot humid day.

Last month, since I was just recovering from my foot issue, I used it for my 10 mile trail race, and the Petersburg half marathon. I was amazed at the ease of my recovery and how good my muscles felt the next day. I had hardly run for 90 days and was able to run two plus hours pretty easily.

After my stress fracture, it helped me to ease back in, even my first few short runs I used 4 x 1.

Some great things about this method:

  • The rhythm is fun. Four minutes is long enough you don't feel like you are constantly stopping and starting. 
  • I like changing my pace on the “run” portions. Some of my intervals are very easy, and some I really push it, because I know that break is coming.
  • If you are running with someone, it is super easy to stay together.
  • The walk break makes it so much easier to hydrate, and in high heat, humidity situations, it is a life saver.
  • It gives you a chance to train in different zones.
  • It gives you a chance to regroup, you can get your breathing under control, and ward off fatigue and side stitch easier.
  • It helps with tight muscles. If you struggle with tightening calves or hamstrings, the reduced impact will help. It helps with my ailing feet for sure.
  • Less impact overall on all your joints and tissues help reduce chance of injury or overuse. 
  • It is a great way to do some timed intervals for speed work.
  • Typically, I can maintain a very similar pace.
  • Keeps your core body temperature more comfortable in heat. 
  • It saves you from walking extended distances. Mentally knowing a break is coming makes it easier to hang in there, if you are having a tough day. 
The hardest things about this method:
  • Taking that first break four minutes in.

However, my personal experience has been the benefits heighten if you begin the run/walk rhythm and maintain it for the entire work out. Fatigue is greatly reduced, and recovery feels easier. 

All that said, I still feel a little inner conflict when I think about transitioning to this method full time. There is still part of me that just wants to be able to run without stopping. I still remember how hard I worked to be able to run my first 5K, 10K, and half marathon without stopping. 

Looking ahead
I am still hoping I can get healthy enough to conquer that 26.2 distance just once. Currently, this is how I envision making it happen. 

I will say, the Galloway training plans are pretty intense for the half and marathon distance. Since I am not in a completely healthy state, I feel it is too many miles and too many long runs for me, but it is a tool that can be easily adapted to suit what I am doing. Ideally, I would like to still run shorter distances, and use intervals for longer runs.

Currently my feet seem to have about a 4 mile limit. I don't know what my running future holds, so I am trying to keep an open mind. I see this as a strategy that may enable me to run for many more years. 

Personally, I believe Galloway had a pretty genius idea. 
Walking doesn't have a stigma attached, it just becomes part of the "plan" that helps you achieve your goals. 

with run buddy meeting Jeff Galloway at the Disney expo

Do you incorporate this method in your daily runs? 
Have you ever used this as tool while recovering from an injury? 
Do you think I missed any important points about the Galloway method? 


  1. The Galloway method is the only way I can get my miles in.
    & I'm like you - I want to do that 26.2 JUST ONCE in my life!!!!
    I need one of those timers. I've been eyeing them on Amazon for awhile.

    1. I hope to check off that distance before the year ends! We shall see :)
      The timer is really great, totally worth the $20

  2. I have definitely done the run/walk thing when coming back from injury! At first I am ashamed to say that I felt "less than" for walking but I got over that pretty fast.

    1. It is hard to go "backwards" I think - had I started running this way, maybe I wouldn't have felt that it was defeating to be walking. I always have fun once I get going though...

  3. I had to swallow my pride and put my ego aside and adopt this method a few years ago. Either that or give up running. I do still try to figure out "how many miles did I run vs. how many miles did I walk" after each run which I am trying to let go of but at least I have made progress in that I use it, I love it, I don't plan to try to run straight distances (or long distances) any time soon. I am a run/walker followed by a walk w/ my dog :)

    1. I have never thought about how miles running verses walking, but I do think my new Garmin can actually be set up to not record the walk break.
      It is a strange battle because for all the good it does for me, I still want to do those shorter runs straight running. It is hard to let go of that!
      It is great that you enjoy it and it works for you. I have really enjoyed it for the most part. I am not sure how I feel longer distances right now since, I don't enjoy summer, but I do know I will have better success all summer if I use this method.

  4. That's cool that you got to meet Jeff Galloway! I've never tried the method but I've heard so many people rave about it. I'm sure you could kick some 26.2 butt with it. The long runs he prescribes are a little too long for my taste, though.

    1. He was really friendly!
      I agree about the long runs, I do not want to run the marathon distance before the race, nor I do really believe I need that. I think I will go with a more traditional 20 mile long run and be done with it :) I sure hope my feet let me get there!

  5. I love the run walk method! I typically do 4/1 but started dng 2 minutes with a 30 second walk in the heat. Same ratio but it feels better. I've never used one of the Galloway training plans though. I've used a Hal Higdon plan for my last couple half marathons.

    1. I have not tried 2 x 30, I need to do that!
      I think the hardest part for me would be doing the race distance before the race. I don't want to do that.
      I have to read more about Hal Higdon plan to see if I think it would work for me.

  6. I have never done the Galloway method, but have taken walk breaks in long runs.

    It's pretty cool that you got to meet Mr. Galloway!

    1. He was very friendly :)
      I used to go to half way point of what I wanted to complete, take a four or five minute walk, the start again in the heat. It worked :) but now taking the breaks closer together does really help my feet :)

  7. I have never done the Galloway method but my sister has and really benefitted from it. I can see where this method would be great to do while recovering from an injury.

    1. It s a great way to ease back in after injury.
      It sure helps me to last a lot longer :)

  8. I don't formally "Galloway" but I have used the run/walk method when I've struggled at races. I still think that if I did a better job of pacing, ie slowing down, I wouldn't have to walk at all. That's my struggle...

    1. I understand. For me that pacing is weather dependent usually...heat will always be my thorn, sometimes slowing down doesn't help enough. Intervals let my temp drop so I can run and feel happy :)

  9. The Galloway method is truly useful! I've only tried it once myself and it was a little too easy for me to do too much on the run portions. I hurt myself going too hard!
    Your gym boss sounds useful!! I'm glad you're back to running again Karen!

    1. Ha! That temptation is there for me when it is cool out, it is more like a speed session LOL
      The gym boss is great - I like not having to think about it!

  10. I wish someone had explained Galloway to me when I first began running. I didn't learn about timed intervals until a year or more into running and they really changed my life. I stopped giving up and getting discouraged at starting over; intervals made it so much easier to get back in the saddle! I prefer to run without intervals, but I like knowing they're there and useful when I need them!

    1. Me too, I was running for awhile before I gave it a try.
      It is so good to have a back up plan :) If I lived in FL, I know I would use them full time :)

  11. I embraced the dark side last year. :)

    I've always taken walk breaks, but usually just once a mile. Sometimes I no longer feel like a real runner, but my times have been better this year.

    I don't follow the Galloway plan, I only loosely do Galloway -- most of this training cycle has actually only been 3 x week and loosely based on RW Run less, Run Faster -- using run/walk intervals.

    Seems to work for me!

    1. Hey, whatever works!!
      I use to go to half my planned distance and take 3 -5 minutes walk and then start again...I guess there are lots of ways to make it work.
      It is crazy how I know sometimes just taking a few seconds to walk would make me feel better, but I just don't want to do it. It is good to embrace it!

  12. I feel like this is a post I could have written myself. We are on the same page 100% about Galloway. I enjoy the timed interval breaks for all of the reasons you mentioned, plus I find when I run straight through I end up running at the same pace as I do with run/walk or just slightly faster. I got my half marathon PR using Galloway and I am a big believer in it although I also feel some hesitation to use it all the time. I usually do a straight run at least once a week just to remind myself that I can if I want to.

    1. Isn't it weird how that happens!?? I didn't do a longer run this week and I just wanted to run all my short ones. I will probably Galloway a longer one next is just weird that I like it, yet I resist! LOL It is funny how we need that straight up run.

  13. My first coaching job was for the National AIDS Marathon Training Program and Jeff Galloway trained us to use his run/walk method with our runners. I especially like using it for beginners as they start their new sport of runnings, and I can see myself using it as I get older so I can continue to run the distances. I don't think there's a thing wrong with switching to using it full time if that's what works best for you! Good luck figuring it out!

  14. I think this is a fantastic tool too, and know many people who swear by it!!! I have tried it, but my legs get too stiff if I take walk breaks (except on the trails)! I'd love to use it in the summer if it didn't bug me. And like you said, it's part of the plan. And any form of exercising is good, so keep doing what moves you forward!

    Their training plans ARE intense. I remember a friend using it signed up and did a full to prepare for her "first" full. Nuts!


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